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SITUATION REPORTDec 18, 2020 | 22:57 GMT
U.S., China: Over 60 Chinese =Firms, Including SMIC, Added to Washington's Export Blacklist
The U.S. Commerce Department has moved to effectively ban China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) from accessing U.S. technology, services and products by adding it, along with more than 60 other Chinese companies, to its entity list, which increases export controls, Bloomberg reported Dec. 18.
SITUATION REPORTDec 17, 2020 | 19:47 GMT
China, Australia: Chinese Steel Industry Association Questions Australian Miners About Rising Iron Ore Prices 
The China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) separately questioned British-Australian iron ore miner Rio Tinto and the Austrian mining company BHP regarding allegations that the producers have restricted output to boost prices, which have nearly doubled over the course of the past year, the South China Morning Post reported Dec. 17.
SITUATION REPORTDec 9, 2020 | 21:28 GMT
Yemen: U.S. Sanctions Iranian Official With Alleged Houthi Links 
The United States has sanctioned a high-ranking member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hasan Irlu, for operating as Tehran’s envoy to Houthi rebels and “demonstrat[ing] the Iranian regime’s indifference to resolving the conflict” in Yemen, Al Jazeera reported Dec. 8. 
AssessmentsDec 3, 2020 | 23:26 GMT
Members of Iranian forces pray around the coffin of slain nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh during his burial ceremony at Imamzadeh Saleh shrine in northern Tehran on Nov. 30, 2020.
A New Iranian Law Could Bring the Nuclear Issue to a Crisis Point Under Biden
The Iranian parliament's ratification of a new bill expanding Iran's nuclear program reflects growing pressure by Iranian hawks on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and their expectation of early engagement with the incoming Biden administration to address bilateral issues. If the law is implemented entirely it would bring the Iran nuclear issue on the cusp of a crisis within the first 100 days of the Biden administration because the moves that Iran makes under the law would be aimed at significantly reducing Iran's nuclear breakout, the time Iran would need to produce enough weapons-grade material for one device.
SITUATION REPORTDec 3, 2020 | 18:16 GMT
China: U.S. Limits Visas, Bans Cotton From Xinjiang Military Conglomerate
The U.S. State Department on Dec. 3 announced new travel restrictions on the 92 million members of the Communist Party of China and their estimated 178 million family members that will immediately limit travel visas to a single entry for one month, the department announced Dec. 3, citing the need to counter the party's "malign influence." Separately, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Dec. 2 that it will use its "Withhold Release Order" powers to halt cotton and cotton product imports from the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.
AssessmentsNov 27, 2020 | 17:44 GMT
IAEA inspectors (2nd, 3rd L) and Iranian technicians disconnect the connections between the twin cascades for 20 percent uranium production at nuclear power plant of Natanz, Iran, on Jan., 20, 2014.
Fallout From the Killing of a High-Level Iranian Nuclear Scientist
The assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh will not materially impact Iran's nuclear program, but the killing is a sign that the United States and Israel are accelerating their covert strategy against Iran in the waning days of the Trump administration. Iran will respond in some form, although it will probably refrain from a hasty response that could transform the covert war with Israel and the United States on Iranian soil into an overt one.
SITUATION REPORTNov 13, 2020 | 18:42 GMT
U.S., China: White House Blocks Investment in Chinese Companies Supporting Mainland Military
U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Nov. 12 barring Americans from holding direct or indirect shares in 31 Chinese companies that the Department of Defense says supply or support the modernization of China's military, intelligence and/or security services. 
On GeopoliticsNov 13, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
(Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
How the Plight of a Heartland Could Upset America's Balance
The unprecedented threats of violence and unrest surrounding the 2020 U.S. presidential election have shown just how deeply divided the American electorate has become. As the United States prepares for what’s likely to be a highly contentious power transition, we invite readers to revisit this 2019 column on how the polarization of U.S. politics goes hand-in-hand with the U.S. economic core’s continued shift away from the Mississippi River Basin to the coasts.
SITUATION REPORTNov 2, 2020 | 21:15 GMT
Australia, China: Beijing Targets Australian Lobster and Timber Exports 
Australia has halted exports of rock lobster to China in response to heightened Chinese customs inspections of the product for trace elements of minerals and metals, the Australian government said Nov. 2. China has also stopped imports of Queensland timber and banned barley imports from Australia-based, Japanese-owned Emerald Grain.
AssessmentsOct 9, 2020 | 21:25 GMT
A view of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) building from the street in Washington D.C. on Sept. 25, 2020.
Zambia’s Imminent Debt Default
Zambia is expected to default on its external debt when the southern African country misses $118 million in interest payments on eurobonds due from Oct. 14 to March 2021. Hopes for a comprehensive debt restructuring are overly optimistic without major help from China, its largest creditor, as well as a substantial macroeconomic adjustment program supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Zambia is the first comprehensive case involving all creditor classes this year, and neither the Paris Club nor bondholders will restructure debt without appropriate burden-sharing by China.
SnapshotsOct 9, 2020 | 18:52 GMT
An Indian fighter jet flies over Leh, the joint capital of the union territory of Ladakh, on June 26, 2020.
China Moves to Freeze Its Border Dispute With India Before the Winter Does
China’s recent reassertion of its 1959 border line with India has left little room for a compromise in the two countries’ territorial dispute in Ladakh ahead of the approaching harsh winter, which will enable Beijing to both reinforce its claims in the Himalayan region come spring, as well as test Indian resolve with actions at other areas along the border. In late September, the Chinese Foreign Ministry sent a statement to the Hindustan Times confirming it still recognizes its unilateral 1959 line along the Indian border as the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which was drawn before the two countries’ war in 1962. Military officials from the two sides are set to meet Oct. 12 for the seventh round of Corps Commander talks aimed at resolving the border standoff in the eastern section of Ladakh, but China’s reassertion of the 1959 line makes any resolution difficult before the winter season sets in
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